Old West History Archives

WHY DID BAT MASTERSON HAVE A CANE?

Have you ever wondered why Bat Masterson always carried a cane?  It sure wasn’t because he thought it was classy.  It was because he needed it.

Back in 1876 Bat Masterson and a Sergeant King were both sparking a Molly Brennan.  Because Sergeant King felt Bat was getting the best of the deal, on this day King came after Bat and the two of them engaged in a shootout.

 Molly jumped in front of Bat to shield him and was killed.  Bat killed Sergeant King.  However, in the process Bat was wounded in the upper thigh.  And for the rest of his life he had a limp requiring the use of a cane.

There are those who say he was called “Bat” because he “batted” people over the head with his cane.

GOLD DISCOVERED AT SAWMILL

It was on this date back in 1848 when James Marshall discovered gold at a sawmill he was constructing to provide lumber for building John Sutter’s town he called New Switzerland.

Although Sutter owned thousands of acres in the area, the mill was located on public land.  And at the time of the discovery California was in the process of changing from a possession of Mexico to the United States.  So, he had no way to get legal ownership of the land around the mill.

Neither Sutter nor Marshall were excited about the discovery of gold and tried to keep it a secrete.  Obviously the word got out.

It’s interesting that although Sutter and Marshall discovered the gold, they never profited from it and died broke.


The picture is of James Marshall at the saw mill.

 

LITTLE BIG HORN

Saw the Custer special last night on PBS.  What always intrigues me about the Little Big Horn is that the East got the news on July 6, 1876, just a couple of days after celebrating the 100th birthday of the United States.  Until then the average citizen thought the Indian wars were a thing of the past.

Can you imagine the highs and the lows they experienced in a couple of days?

And speaking of highs and lows, with the defeat of Custer, Crazy Horse must have felt he could take on the whole world and be victorious.  However with the American people demanding revenge, General Nelson Miles was sent on a winter campaign after Crazy Horse.  And in May of 1877, less than a year after the Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse along with his rag-tag group of 217 men and 672 women surrendered.

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